An Unusual Canadian Fashion Tradition

Posted by Daniel Feuer on

Bill Morneau with his 2018 Budget Day Shoes.  Image courtesy of Poppy BarleyWhy the New Shoes With A New Budget?

This is an unusual tradition that holds the Minister of Finance should purchase or wear new shoes when the budget is delivered. The origins aren't exactly known and it's been inconsistent among Finance Ministers. In 1960 then Finance Minister Donald M Flemming said he was following a practice that was already described as "traditional". An article from a The Windsor Star circa 1967 claimed that the tradition of wearing "something new" started with Sir John Rose's first budget of 1868.

The tradition has been inconsistent with some Ministers re-wearing previously purchased "budget day" shoes and in 2008 Jim Flaherty wore resoled shoes. John Crosbie, wore used mukluks in 1979 and Paul Martin wore new work boots he received as a gift from Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Lately the tradition has been more Canadian focused with the Minister purchasing from shoes from Canadian companies. In 2017 and 2018 Bill Morneau wore shoes from Edmonton based Poppy Barley.
Jim Flaherty and his resoled 2008 Budget Day Shoes
Regardless of the tradition’s origins, it's become part of the pomp and circumstance associated with the Federal Budget and has also found its way into Provincial Budgets.  Manitoba’s Finance Minister Jennifer Howard ditched the new pair of shoes for beautiful necklace from a local designer, Hilary Druxman.

It'll be interesting to see how this quirky Canadian fashion traditional morphes with future budgets.  

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